We are all wondering what’s coming next with the old Courthouse in downtown Clarkesville. After several potential suitors expressed interest over the past couple of years in purchasing the dated public building, nothing has come to fruition as the county prepares to have to demo the building.
Built in 1965, the building suffers from construction and design issues that have made the structure a white elephant for the county. Though it occupies one of the most elevated locations in downtown Clarkesville, the old courthouse may prove to be more valuable marketing-wise with it completely razed than it would be finding a buyer who can afford to renovate it up to todays standards.
At the regular monthly meeting, the commission was scheduled to vote on a measure to hire an architect to oversee the demolition of the courthouse structure, but the measure was tabled until a future date after a glimmer of hope surfaced regarding interest in the present structure.
“A Commissioner has been contacted by an architect who is interested in possibility redevelopment of the building without removing it from the site,” said Phil Sutton, Habersham County Manager. “The commission is allowing him some time to present his concept at the next commission meeting.”
Ideally, discussion of the future of the present courthouse building will be evaluated in light of the recent announcement that Town Planner Lew Oliver was bringing in some planning experts to provide (mostly pro bono) a redesign strategy to “balance growth and preservation” of the downtown area of Clarkesville. We are all waiting patiently for a decision from the Commissioners that is in the best interest of the residents of Clarkesville and Habersham County. Let’s hope that decision comes sooner than later, but the right decision is of vital importance for the long-term future of our great community.